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Become who you were meant to be

Marvel’s new Netflix show, Iron Fist dropped 13 episodes on Friday and sufficed to say, people have been very harsh. Before its original premiere date, Netflix gave out 6 episodes for the popular critics circle (Guardian, Hollywood Reporter etc) to review. Many dismissed the show as “boring” and “uninspired” not to mention they all had a similar aggravation with the pacing of the show. I was very excited about this show and did not want to let the critics dissuade me from watching the series, I have now watched all 13 episodes and I can say wholeheartedly, it really isn’t as bad as it is being made out to be.

The series revolves around Danny Rand (Finn Jones), an heir to Rand Enterprises and the ‘immortal Iron Fist’. Before making his way to New York to reclaim his father’s company back from childhood friends, Joy and Ward Meachum (Jessica Stroup and Tom Pelphrey), his parents died in a plane crash but he survived. After being rescued by some monks, he trained in K’un Lun and learnt Kung Fu.

The first episode gets off to a nice start with an establishment of characters and setting and some hints at Danny’s capabilities. Some of the mistaken identity surrounding his name and credentials gets slightly annoying but it’s nothing that should put you off in a hurry. A lot of critics and audiences on social media have an issue with Danny as a character, he is either too naive and annoying or too invasive and pathetic. I do agree that his character is invasive and naive but I also find something very innocent and endearing about him and although he may not be the strongest screen presence, I did find myself warming to him as the series continued.

Danny does annoy the viewer at times as he has a tendency to be more than a little ignorant, disregarding the fact that people may not think his opinions and decisions are right or indeed warranted. He does not care about interrupting Colleen Wing’s (Jessica Henwick’s) life; a character who is incredibly strong all on her own and very strong willed.  But he is a man-child, he has the innocence and guile of a child but the bravado and stubbornness of a teenager, evidenced by his angry remark to Claire Temple “I appreciate your concern but I’ve already made up my mind!” Everything seems to be his fault and people tell him as such, but that doesn’t mean he won’t retort with a childish remark or a Peter Pan syndrome-esque’ pout. However, this is counterbalanced by his ability to be honourable and kind in the way he treats his employees and his love interest, Colleen.

Netflix. Danny Rand (Finn Jones) has proven to be a divisive character with audiences

Colleen and Claire aren’t the only strong, capable women in the show, Joy Meachum packs a punch of her own, but in a business type way not an Iron Fist way… Joy single handedly seems to be running Rand Enterprises while her brother, Ward spirals into drug addiction, psychosis and even murder. This is all handled wonderfully by Tom Pelphrey who is arguably more of a screen presence than Jones.

The villains of the show, Madame Gao and Harold Meachum are disappointing and Harold appears more slimy and disgusting than villainous. Whilst there are some plot twists regarding ‘The Hand’ and other villains of the show (that you may have encountered if you have been watching Daredevil) there never seems to be any true opposition to Danny. There are some easter eggs in the show for fans referencing other shows such as Jessica Jones when Joy mentions that she has hired a private investigator that was good “when she was sober”.

Netlfix. Danny struggles living a corporate, billionaire lifestyle

Danny’s struggle between his buddhist teachings and inner chi and his billionaire lifestyle often inflict unnecessary drama into his life. Whilst he has been raised to reject materialism and corporate lifestyles, he is also flung into a world where he has to acknowledge this to better himself. In fact some of the corporate Rand scenes echo Mr. Robot‘s war against E-Corp, not to mention the Rand ‘we’re here for you’ billboards posted across town are more than a little ironic.

Critics had only seen 6 episodes of Iron Fist and although they argued that pacing issues were a big problem with some of them pointing out that they could not get through 2 episodes, I have to disagree. Yes, some episodes drag in areas they shouldn’t but this a TV series with 13 hour long episodes, this is not a movie where everything has to be crammed into 2 hours. This may be a big reason why audiences have not responded well to the show, however all four of Marvel’s Netflix shows including Iron Fist have pacing problems. I personally found Daredevil season 1 too hard and slow to get through but I found Jessica Jones easy. It is a very subjective matter and you shouldn’t let media sway your opinion on watching a show, even this article.

Netflix. Iron Fist’s fight scenes aren’t bad but they fail to rapture enough attention

One thing I was looking forward to were the fight scenes as I have always loved martial arts films. Critics spoke about the uninspired and lacklustre sequences. The fight scenes are very choreographed and although they get much better towards episode 13, they are not what I and many other people were expecting.

Overall, Iron Fist could do with a clean up on script, action sequences and character development but the show has to be given some credit for what it is trying to achieve. Stick with the show and by Episode 6, you’ll be hooked enough to continue the show as I did. Iron Fist doesn’t pack as big a punch as it could do but will definitely knock you the ground a few times.

7/10

Marvel’s Netflix shows ranked:

  1. Jessica Jones – Iron Fist (Joint tie) 
  2. Luke Cage
  3. Daredevil 
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Posted by Abigail Remmer

Ex-Film and TV Editor for The Demon. I specialise in World Cinema and Film Economics but I am often to be found writing about superheroes and sci-fi nonsense.

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